Nine Australians to watch for in college basketball this season

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November 7 marks the start of the new college basketball season, with more than 120 Australians competing across the three divisions.

Last year some of the great Aussie collegiate careers came to an end (Jock Landale, St. Mary's; Deng Adel, Louisville), so who could announce themselves as the big man on campus this season?


Sam Froling
School, Conference: Creighton, Big East
Position: Forward/centre
Height, weight: 210 cm [6'11"], 91 kg [225 lbs]
From: Sydney, NSW

One of Australia's most intriguing freshman prospects, Sam Froling's magnificent scoring ability mirrors that of Landale's - multi-layered and instantly valuable in one of the toughest, most experienced conferences in college basketball.

His motor may prevent him from playing heavy minutes early on, but if Froling can make good on the kind of talent he possesses, he may be rewarded by his coach Greg McDermott, who has shown to trust his younger players with key roles.

Deng Gak

School, conference: Miami, Atlantic Coast Conference
Position: Centre
Height, weight: 208 cm [6'10"], 88 kg [194 lbs]
From: Sydney, NSW

As enigmatic as Deng Gak is, all the requirements are there for the 20-year-old to enjoy a successful career at the University of Miami.

Gak was made offers by schools such as Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Florida, where his brother Gorjok plays. He could see anywhere from 10-15 minutes per night in his freshman year as an energetic big off the bench for Jim Larranaga.

Kody Stattmann

School, conference: Virginia, Atlantic Coast Conference
Position: Shooting guard
Height, weight: 204 cm [6'7"], 81 kg [178 lbs]
From: Cairns, QLD

Cairns' Kody Stattmann is one of Australia's blue chip recruits, having impressed both internationally with Aussie youth teams as well as at the Basketball Without Borders camp.

Playing for a coach in Tony Bennett whose teams pride themselves on their defence, Stattmann will have some work to do on that end of the court, but when the nation's No. 1 team from last season is eager to add you to the fold, you know you have potential as a college hoops star.


Jacob Epperson

School, conference: Creighton, Big East
Position: Centre
Height, weight: 210 cm [6'11"], 102 kg [224 lbs]
From: Melbourne, VIC

Part of a one-two Aussie big man punch with the aforementioned Froling, Jacob Epperson started out his career in the Big East admirably, averaging 6.3 points on a .694 field goal percentage and 2.9 rebounds per game on a team that sat on the fringes of the AP Poll for most of the year.

Epperson will need to improve his game, particularly rebounding, to make sure he is playing alongside, and not behind, his freshman compatriot.

Makuach Maluach

School, conference: New Mexico, Mountain West
Position: Guard/forward
Height, weight: 204 cm [6'7"], 86 kg [189 lbs]
From: Sydney, NSW

Most players tend to improve from year to year but the University of New Mexico's Makuach Maluach seemingly improved from game to game in his freshman year for the Lobos.

After improving his three-point shot, Maluach started to take on a larger role in the offense, and with his length on the defensive end, became an important contributor in Albuquerque.

Kouat Noi

School, conference: TCU, Big 12
Position: Power forward
Height, weight: 204 cm [6'7"], 95 kg [209 lbs]
From: Newcastle, NSW

Having attended the same high school as Ben Simmons, Kouat Noi brings similar excitement to the court as his countryman. In just over 20 minutes per night last season, the Newcastle native put up 10.2 points and 3.9 rebounds, with shooting percentages of .496 from the field and .434 from three.

Despite being undersized for the four, Noi's ability to stretch the floor is invaluable in the Big 12, where the hulking big men of the conference can be exploited outside the paint. With Texas Christian returning many of its most important players, we may see Noi feature in the NCAA Tournament.

Isaac White

School, conference: Stanford, Pac-12
Position: Point guard
Height, weight: 188 cm [6'2"], 82 kg [180 lbs]
From: Adelaide, SA

With the University of Stanford battling injuries through the early part of last season, Isaac White stepped in to fill the void, which included an impressive 20 points against No. 9 North Carolina and their NBA backcourt of Joel Berry and Theo Pinson.

With Stanford losing some important production from the backcourt this season, White should see an uptick in his playing time, where he will be auditioning for a potential starting role as a junior or senior.


Jack White

School, conference: Duke, Atlantic Coast Conference
Position: Small forward
Height, weight: 204 cm [6'7"], 101 kg [222 lbs]
From: Canberra, ACT

The most well-known Australian balling on the college scene, Jack White's off-the-bench cameos became the stuff of legend at Duke University last season, in particular against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, when his 5 points and 7 rebounds in just 14 minutes brought the house down.

It's unlikely White is heading for the NBA -- his best contributions do not often show up in the box score -- however, as the favourites for the title heading into the new season, Duke will need his hustle if they want to cut down the nets in Minneapolis.

Dejean Vasiljevic

School, conference: Miami, Atlantic Coast Conference
Position: Shooting guard
Height, weight: 192 cm [6'3"], 92 kg [202 lbs]
From: Melbourne, VIC

A Victorian of Slavic heritage, Dejean Vasiljevic's 'battler' mantle is as Australian as it comes. Despite losing large chunks of playing time over the past two seasons to NBA draftees Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown, Vasiljevic has still motored his way to 9 points per game on .450/.411 shooting.

Having steadily increased his scoring output since arriving in SoFlo, Vasiljevic will again be in a fight for minutes in the Hurricanes backcourt with Zach Johnson, Anthony Mack and Miles Wilson, but with the offensive chops he has shown thus far in barely 20 minutes per night, don't back against him.